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Campaign Challenge: Absence
For those of you looking for my post on National Buy A Book Day, scroll down below this post (after you read it).
In this post, I'm responding to the first challenge in the Platform Building Campaign. Here are the guidelines followed by my story:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)
The door swung open, creaking on unused hinges.Rachel leaned forward and studied the man slumped in the chair across the room.
“Sam?” Her voice croaked.She swallowed and tried again, a little louder.“Sam?”
The balding, elderly man jerked awake, snorting.
She giggled at the memory of the sound.
His red-rimmed eyes focused on her.“Rachel?”He rushed to her side.“You’re here.”
Those words used to pain her, but now, she felt thanks for the few times she heard them.“Yes, dear Sam, I’m here.”
Sam knelt beside her and ran a tender, gnarled hand down her cheek.
“How long?” Rachel asked.He looked older than she remembered.She didn’t dare check her own reflection in the mirror hanging on the wall beside her.
“It doesn’t matter.” Sam’s eyes spilled gentle tears, and he swiped at them. “You’re here now.”
Irritation spiked in Rachel’s heart.“No, Sam.How long?”
The haunted look that washed into his gaze gave her a moment’s regret.
“Four months. You missed Christmas.”
“And our anniversary.” Rachel sagged in the chair.
“Fifty-two years.”He leaned in to kiss her.
Rachel shrank back from the old geezer leaning over her, and the door swung shut.
In my last post, Character Development: the Johari Window , I introduced the Johari Window as a tool for developing your characters. It's important that your character not know everything about their situation. These unknowns can lead to an intriguing story and create possibilities for conflict within the story. How do you use the Johari Window? In this post, I thought I'd provide a simple example of the Johari Window with a character most people know: Harry Potter. Below, I have filled out the Johari Window as it might appear within the first few pages of book 1, Harry Potter and The Sorceror's Stone . The Johari Window based on Harry Potter and The Sorceror's Stone Three of the quadrants in this window reveal what Harry doesn't know about who he truly is and what happened to his parents. I could add a lot to the quadrants representing what he doesn't know, but I hope this gives you an idea on how a Johari Window might be used. What do you d
When you write about character's of different races, how do you describe their skin tone? If you've never thought about this, then consider this question: How do the authors you read described persons of color? A few months ago, I attended a webinar about writing diverse characters. The guest was Eliana West of Writers for Diversity . The information she shared felt fresh and valuable, especially related to describing a character's skin tone. I get really tired of seeing African-descended characters described in terms of the goods that drove, and still drive the slave trade--coffee, chocolate, brown sugar. There's some weird psychosocial baggage attached to that. -- N. K. Jemisin As this quote from author, N. K . Jemisin , indicates, historically, writers have described people of color using food-related descriptors. Many people of color find this offensive. This surprised me, at first, but she has a point, especially when you view it through the quote above. My fir
One of the mistakes writers make is to create a character who is a lot like the writer...or who the writer wishes he was. When I'm reading a book, I can tell the character is the better version of the writer. You know, the writer with all of the great looks and skills the writer wishes he has. I have one word for this: Boring! What do you know about your protagonist? You have freedom to create anyone you want as your protagonist. It can be a lot of fun to create a character who is completely different than you. Whatever you do when creating your character, you need to know more about the character than the character knows about herself. Which is one reason why creating a fictional "you" as the protagonist gets boring. You have to get outside the character to create a full personality. At a recent conference, the workshop on character, taught by John Kessel , got me thinking about some of the tools I use in corporate training. This suggestion--know more abou